BC Place farm refutes the naysayers

Richmond background: When powerful parties tried to wrest the Garden City Lands from the ALR for dense construction, they claimed it was useless for agriculture. In contrast, many citizens claimed that it was well suited to urban agriculture. They pointed out that the Richmond City Centre location that made it bad for industrial agriculture, which no one wanted, was ideal for the kind of agriculture that was widely wanted. Since the farmland was already sitting ready in the City Centre, all that was needed was urban agriculture expertise in leadership roles. And the community and local university had that expertise and council had received their detailed presentations showing how they would put it into action.

Vancouver proof: A recent Vancouver Sun article about a new urban farm in Vancouver near BC Place stadium demonstrates the power of the two factors of location and expertise. Unlike the Garden City Lands, the Vancouver location just has an asphalt parking lot instead of a third key factor, farmland, and it will still succeed.

I encourage you to read “Urban farm near False Creek to grow organic produce” it you haven’t already done so. Of course, I’m not suggesting that anyone should line the Garden City Lands with pallets with wooden frames on them and organic matter to fill the frames. However, there are lessons from that False Creek strategy. One lesson is to adapt to the existing situation, and the situation that exists on the Garden City Lands involves farmland that can be enhanced with permaculture methods. Another lesson is to seize the moment and act.

The import of the story: If Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside community can do all that with two acres of asphalt farm, imagine what the Richmond community could have done by now with 140 acres of real farmland.

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